USA TODAY Sports
Chicago State will join the Western Athletic Conference next season.
Chicago State will join the Western Athletic Conference beginning on July 1, 2013, according to Shannon Ryan of WGNtv.com.
Athletic director Dan Schumacher said this legitimizes Chicago State "as a relevant school" as the team is no longer no-man's land.
The Cougars are joining California State-Bakersfield, Idaho, Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, Seattle and Utah Vallley in the WAC in 2013-14.
The shift allows Chicago State to compete for an automatic NCAA tournament berth while providing them a share of conference revenue.
Head basketball coach Tracy Dildy told Ryan that the automatic berth will help the school in recruiting as the question of playing in the tournament "came up 100 percent of the time" with recruits.
Chicago State is coming off a 74-64 loss to Depaul to fall to 2-8 this season. The Cougars have lost two games in a row and seven of their last eight.
The men's and women's soccer teams will also join the WAC in 2014 as part of the agreement.